Dr. Grace LaJoy Henderson
is the author of over thirty books. Her foster care story, A Gifted Child in Foster Care: A Story of Resilience, Classroom Set and her children’s book series, The Gracie Series, are in public and charter schools.
Pearson Higher Education published two chapters from her foster care story in a college textbook. Newspapers, radio and television has featured her publications and her story.
Grace LaJoy received her Doctorate in Christian Counseling with an emphasis in Writing and Research, from Faith Bible College in Independence, Missouri. She earned two masters degrees, in Education, and Curriculum and Instruction, from Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. Her bachelor’s degree in Social Psychology is from Park University in Parkville, Missouri. Her Associates degree in Office Management is from the Metropolitan Community Colleges in Kansas City, Missouri.
Grace LaJoy has an array of experiences working with children in both school and community settings. She served at the Kansas City, Missouri School district as a Lead Family Worker, Parent-School Liaison, and Student Discipline Specialist. She managed a contract with the Missouri Children’s Division, in which she provided court-ordered services for children in foster care and their birth parents. She has also volunteered her time as Children’s Church Teacher, Sunday School Teacher, Youth Department Leader, Youth Drama Director, and Vacation Bible School Teacher.
She has served as psychology and college success instructor as well as academic coach. Outside of higher education, she is a keynote speaker, workshop leader and guest author at schools, libraries and other organizations.
Dr. Grace LaJoy is available for reading poetry and excerpts from her books, sharing her foster care and finding mother stories, and conducting aspiring author workshops. She is able to provide inspiring presentations to elementary and secondary students and adults.
Grace LaJoy was born in the outskirts of Grand Rapids, Michigan. She grew up in Kansas City, Missouri’s inner city, where she eventually spent some time in foster care. After taking her out of foster care, Grace’s father traveled back and forth with her between Charlotte, North Carolina, Detroit, Michigan, and Kansas City, Missouri. Grace moved back Kansas City, Missouri at the beginning of her senior year and graduated from Westport High School in 1984. Over the years, she has become a poet, author, speaker and workshop leader.
Grace LaJoy began writing at a very early age, keeping her first poem when she was only 12 years old. She ended up with a folder filled with over 200 poems and songs. She would share her writing with family, friends, at school and at church. Ultimately, she became the "go to" person for honor and appreciation poems at her church. Her desire to share her poetry more widely led her to create 20 laminated posters, with illustrated backgrounds, featuring her poetry.
Grace LaJoy's career as an author began in 2003 when she wrote and published her first book of poetry. She, and the book, received an endorsement from the national motivational speaker, Les Brown, after he heard her present a poem she wrote entitled, I Forgive You. She went on to write more books, like Writer’s Breakthrough: Steps to Copyright and Publish Your Own Book, to help aspiring authors who do not know where to begin; and her foster care story, A Gifted Child in Foster Care: A Story of Resilience, which shares how she overcame a very challenging childhood.
Speaker, Workshop Leader
In addition to being an author, Grace LaJoy is also a speaker and workshop leader. She has been an approved speaker for Stonecroft Ministries since 2009. Since 2003, she has served as guest presenter at schools, colleges, churches and other organizations. She has conducted self-publishing workshops for aspiring authors, catering to both youth and adult audiences.
Dr. Grace LaJoy hoped her life stories and experiences would inspire, encourage and empower others, which is why she named her business Inspirations by Grace LaJoy, LLC. She believes that even if only one person feels uplifted by something she wrote, then, her mission for writing it is accomplished. She usually writes new things when she feels an “inspiration” come over her, and she pens right away. That inspiration was especially present when she published her latest two sets of books, The Gracie Series and Finding Mother Series.
Inspiration for The Gracie Series
Grace LaJoy became inspired to write The Gracie Series after a funny real life situation concerning the mailman delivering a tin of popcorn and leaving it outside behind a bush when there was no one available to receive it. After searching for the delivered popcorn, she actually found the popcorn behind the bush. Her co-worker said, "you should write a little children's book about your experience." So, Grace LaJoy set out to write the first book in the series, “Popcorn Behind the Bush” just for fun. But, more story ideas from her real life childhood experiences began to come to her mind. So, she wrote about ten stories all at once and decided to begin The Gracie Series with only six of them. The name Gracie stems from the fact that the author was affectionately called “Gracie” by her siblings when she was a little girl.
Inspiration for the Finding Mother Series
Grace LaJoy became inspired to write the Finding Mother Series when she found her mother after 49 years. Everybody who knew her well knew of the emptiness she had lived with not having a mother. Whenever she would share her foster care story, it was with the thought she would never find her mother in this lifetime. So, she is excited to finally be sharing her intriguing story with the world.
Dr. Grace LaJoy Henderson is a true example of a multi-faceted person, who shares her life through her writing.